. . . who I really must remember today, because today is her birthday! Sister Mary Albertine is another KCHS grad, from the class of 1947. That means, I suppose, that she is turning 83 today, which is simply impossible to believe if you see her. She has hardly changed since she taught me Algebra almost 30 years ago. Clearly she takes after her parents, who lived well into their 90s, Mr. Paulus still driving them to Mass each Sunday and writing his annual Christmas poem to share with the congregation. Sister has his gentle smile.
In recent years Sister was much more than a math teacher, which I don’t think was ever her first choice as a career–Sisters didn’t get to pick and choose. After 32 years of teaching, she left to direct the Diocesan-wide Renew and then became the head of the Evangelization office for the Diocese. She recently stepped down but still leads Diocesan pilgrimages. Since the age of ten, she has also played organ and piano for many, many liturgies.
Sister is so talented and I know her post-teaching career has been phenomenal. But she was also a great math teacher! She had an enthusiasm for the topic that she communicated to her students. I still remember her demonstrating by taking smaller and smaller and smaller steps how a hyperbola (right?) approaches the asymptote but never quite gets there! I recall her referring to numbers as “cute little creatures.”
Sister was patient, too. She never rushed us. She would do every homework program on the blackboard if we needed her to, until she was sure we understood. I never took another day of math after I left KCHS. But I can still help my kids with Algebra, because Sister was so thorough. [Note: My last class with sister was now 33 years ago, and I still remember how to find the slope of a line–thank God.]
Finally, Sister almost always wore a smile, in the classroom and out. That’s something that hasn’t changed.
[Edit: I saw Sister Albertine out and about a couple of months ago. She had just returned from leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She is still vigorous and looks 20 years younger than her almost 90 years.]